Auto RecallsNew research has found that about 3.5 million cars that were recalled for various safety issues were listed for sale online in 2013.

According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, although 70 percent of people respond to defective auto safety recalls, millions of drivers still ignore them. They also have no problem putting them up for sale online.

Of course, this comes at a time when the number of problems relating to auto recalls is mounting.

Last week, the U.S. Justice Department following a criminal inquiry ordered Toyota Motor Corp. to pay $1.2 billion for misleading the public about what caused sudden or unintended acceleration in millions of its vehicles linked to at least 37 deaths.

Last month General Motors recalled nearly 1.6 million cars for faulty ignitions that were linked to 14 deaths.

Meanwhile Honda is recalling about 886,000 Odyssey minivans for fire hazards.

Vehicles for Sale with Open Recalls

According to Carfax.com, a site that lists sales from dealers and provides reports on used cars, March and April are the months when consumers in most states shop for used cars.

A spokesman for Carfax tells The Wall Street Journal that one in nine vehicles listed for sale online have an open recall.

The states with the highest number of recalled cars sold online were Texas (307,556 cars), California (214,674), Missouri (212,949), Florida (211,182) and Ohio (151,763).

Safety is Key When You Shop

There are several things to remember when you shop for a used car. Remember, better to be safe than sorry.

  • Always do your homework. You can check if the vehicle you are about to buy has been the subject of a safety recall by visiting the U.S. National Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) website at http://www.recalls.gov/nhtsa.html or Carfax Vehicle History Reports. You can also check for open recalls using the vehicle identification number at recall.carfax.com.
  • Check the vehicle’s history. Request the car’s vehicle inspection number or VIN from the dealer and conduct an online search of the vehicle’s history. If the vehicle has been involved in a major accident, the information will be available online. You can typically purchase a VIN report for as little as $1.
  • Have the vehicle inspected. Have the vehicle thoroughly inspected by a trusted mechanic.
  • Ask questions. Ask your dealer or the vehicle owner if the vehicle has been the subject of a recall. If so, ask if they have made the necessary repairs that are free of charge.

Always test-drive the car to make sure it fits your needs.